Monday, January 18, 2010


tonight, i can't help myself...i feel joy. i don't know if it's a delirium brought on by exhaustion and stress, if it was church, if it's the smiles and touches of my children, if it's the help and support given me my friends and family...those things are always a part of my life. but tonight...i feel joy.

i looked at the trees tonight, empty and bare...stark. my grass is brown and flat. and it reminded me, in a way it's only done since i moved to this town, of the seasons of life. only since i've been here have i really noticed the barrenness of winter and craved the green life that spring brings. and it has often made me aware of the seasons of life. i have felt like much of the last year has been winter. when i went through my calendar at the end of this last year, i was relieved to be reminded of all the green times i had forgotten. my seasons definitely cycle a little quicker than the trees...but that's okay. i was thinking tonight about how the brown grass will be green again...and maybe it holds the joy of knowing that time will come. but then it must also hold the knowledge that winter will always come, and spring again. and how both of those things exist always. and it helped me hold my own knowledge. of the stark and the lush. of the brown and the green. the death and the life. the sadness, fear, loneliness, and anger as well as the happiness, courage, company, and joy.

and tonight, i just can't shake this joy. and for that, i am thankful.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


most of my adult life, i have been struck by how different dark is at night. it's been fascinating and delightful to me to walk outside to see what color the night sky is. seemed most of my childhood that dark was one color...if it was dark outside, it was but lately i've noticed that dark can be quite bright at times. i've joked before about getting a moonburn. and that is strangely comforting to me when it be out on a night that is so bright, i have to shade my eyes when i walk out of my dark house. and then some nights, it is so dark that it is like being wrapped in black velvet. i can't even make out the trees that are a few feet from me and need a flashlight just to find the dogs' bowls. and that comforts me as well.

i have a pete seger and arlo guthrie cd called precious friend that i love listening to. and on that cd, arlo guthrie says you can't have a light without a dark to put it in. and this has been sticking in my head lately. maybe because through much of my pregnancy and here the last few weeks, i've felt kind of in the dark. anne lamott talks about circles of light to step into...waiting for the next circle of light to reveal itself so we know where to walk. but sometimes, i feel like i'm not standing in a circle of light, so maybe i've stepped to where there really aren't any other circle of lights coming...i guess like i've lost my way. but what i've noticed is that even at those times, points of light will come...maybe only blink like a lone firefly. but that they are there, and they at least let me know that if i wait patiently and look, or maybe if i even don't wait patiently and don't even look, that they will still find me and eventually, e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y, i will find myself in a circle of light, or maybe even a full daytime sun.

having a house full of kids can provide you with lots of points of lights. but it can also wear you out to where you've got your eyes shut so tightly, you don't know that you necessarily want to see anything, even if it is light.

things have been tough in the family circle. not here in this house, although we've had our share of nights and days here. but there are some dark times in the houses of those my spouse shared womb with, and it's tough to know those you love (even if you didn't chose them consciously but in a spiritual way your conscious mind can't always understand and frankly doesn't always want to understand) are in the dark. but i know in a way i can't prove that light will come. light is there. and eventually, there will be brighter times. things will be different. they always are. sometimes they just change a little more rapidly than we were expecting. and we may miss the way they were...or even think about the way they could've been. but they will be. and then they'll change again.

i miss some friends i had before we moved. they are still my friends, and it is different, and i do miss the way they were, but they still are, and somehow, even though i miss what was, what is seems even better in some ways. i miss the times we had together, those wonderful things you do together that you get to take for granted, but that can be savored when you just don't live close enough to keep doing them. but what is left is something that is richer...for some reason...or at least it seems so.

there's this poem that i saw on retreat years ago.

be still and know that i am god
be still and know that i am
be still and know
be still

i have thought about this poem a number of times lately. it has come into my mind repeatedly, and i'd let it play through, not really seeing the relevance, but i've never really been a person to need a lot of relevance. but now i see where it's been leading me.

there are lots of things we do in the dark. we grope, strain our eyes, bump into things...we sleep, dream, make love...nurse babies, sing lullabies, pray...cry, worry, mindfuck...and sometimes we just wait for the sunrise.

it was a busy day today...a good day...a productive day full of friends and activities and learning and smiles. first day of spring semester in co-op, chemistry, robotics. i didn't get to talk to my baby girl today, but there is tomorrow. (she is quite a little "talker" these days...getting very responsive when we have the chance to chat.) she went to bed a little earlier tonight...i'm guessing it's because our day started a little earlier. and i'm not even going to waste my time feeling guilty over the happiness this hour to myself before i collapse into bed has given me. two blogs in one! i cannot think of a time i have felt so content and peaceful in the last couple of weeks. but tomorrow is a night away and i think i'll go enjoy the dark behind my eyelids.


the goal is awareness

and i am failing miserably.

i set a goal this week to be aware of what i do with my time. yet i still arrive at the end of my days wondering where the hell the time went and whether or not i got a thing done...and then i usually fall asleep before i answer either of those questions. which makes for a rather disjointed existence...lots of surprises, i 'll admit...but a little disconcerting when you're a hsing mama of five.

but let me tell you a couple of things i remember...

one thing i find deeply, deeply pleasing in a quiet, delightful way is the way water runs through baby hair. my youngest and i took a bath tonight and i had that warm full feeling you get when you get to do something you love, forgot you loved, and all of a sudden, the warmth of every time you've ever done it fills you.

i'm watching that same littlest suck her fingers with sleepy swollen eyes try to suck her thumb while i type this.

and i heard the absolute funniest line tonight..."i'm going to tell him every time he looks at porn, god kills a puppy."

ok, littlest is finished. g'nite...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


when i blog in my head, i try to come up with a title that will help me remember what i was thinking word to capture a thread of what i'm working on as i drive or fall asleep or rock and nurse a baby. a few days ago, i named a thread perspective. but i can't for the life of me remember what it was about. well, obviously it was about perspective, but i couldn't remember how that was relevant to whatever it was i was thinking about. oh well.

so today, i typed a line about how having a teenager and a baby in the house made the air crackle with possibility. and i really liked that...something deep inside me raised its fist and went "right on!" so i felt i was on to something. on the way to mass, i thought more about it. about the possibilities of my youngest as she grows and develops...and i mean from the ground up, you know. those darned hands...they're difficult. she keeps bopping herself on the head and i'm pretty sure that's not what she was trying to do. but she doesn't dwell in frustration...she keeps on going. i think we'll have a party when she gets control of those little hands. and her eyes...oh man...the other day she had the hiccups and every time she'd hiccup, her eyes would cross. and it would take her a few minutes to uncross them. but then she'd hiccup and they'd cross again. it was a little diaphragm/ocular muscle workout for about fifteen minutes. i admit it, i laughed. and it's awesome watching her develop and grow...all those possibilities for her. it squeezes my heart.

and then there's her biggest brother with all of his own possibilities. a brother-in-law who's a high school counselor talked to me about testing, scholarship, and college admission requirements over the holiday. (and btw, it's kind of really uncool to talk to a new mom about this stuff so soon after birth...just if you were wondering...makes her feel THAT MUCH MORE overwhelmed than she already did and also makes her kind of hate you...just sayin') but my teen has so many possibilities ahead of him. and i don't just mean educationally or academically or career choosing/developing/shaping. his first girlfriend broke up with him yesterday. oh my...for a nonviolent woman, i really did want to punch her face in just the tiniest bit. and watching him deal with that...that squeezed lots of stuff, too. and i'll admit it, i cried...after everyone went to bed that night...a little because i hurt for him and a little for me just because it felt overwhelming.

there is so much emphasis on raising babies. and the teen years so often just get generalized as difficult or rebellious or whatever. but it is amazing watching a young one cross that long winding bridge to self responsibility and accountability. (like the way i made it sound like there's an end to that bridge? well, if there is, i haven't found it yet) it's just neat to go from walking in front of your child, holding their hands, supporting them, clearing the path of any dangers, showing them where to go, providing them good nutrition, good opportunities, experiences to walking alongside them...sometimes even letting them lead. hell, sometimes needing them to lead. and this is what i've found parenting to be about...for all five of them. and so i have six wonderful folks i get to do walk with daily...because yes, my pharmacist/doctor/breadwinner husband walks right alongside us. and that is just so much possibility in one house...

when i taught philosophy, i read this poem with the students by emily dickinson called "i dwell in possibility"...

I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Superior--for Doors--

Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--

Of visitors--the fairest--
For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--

the kids were brilliant about it. i remember one student that brought tears to my eyes as he talked about his blank page being possibility...nothing but everything at the same time. and i think this is where i dwell...or what dwells in me...either way.